Faculty Spotlight: Kent Huffman
It’s impossible for Kent Huffman to identify the point when he first fell in love with the Humanities.
"Perhaps it was Mrs. Ploenges’ sixth grade class when we studied ancient Egypt and looked at the beautiful tomb paintings and she read aloud 'The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor,' " he said. "Or it may have been Mr. Woods, my eighth grade American History teacher. He had a wonderful way of making history come alive.
"In college, I was fortunate to have Mr. Freed for Medieval History. His method of history was all-inclusive: He expected us to relate the art of the Middle Ages to history, thought and politics. I think that’s when I realized I was attracted not just to history but to the Humanities. Teaching Humanities allows me to show students the connections between art, literature, philosophy, religion and society. I just hope I can ignite in my students the same excitement and passion that my teachers aroused in me."
Huffman began his teaching career after completing graduate school at the University of Chicago. For three years, he taught at Benedictine University. However, as his family began growing, he wanted to provide a better life for them than teaching could provide. So he responded to an ad for a government affairs director and became a lobbyist, constantly traveling to Springfield and Washington.
After his last child left home, Huffman retired from lobbying and returned to his first love -- teaching. He joined the College of DuPage faculty in 2001, first as an adjunct professor of Humanities and then full-time. While he doesn't expect his students to become art historians, philosophers, theologians, poets or playwrights, he does hope they become excited about something to which they are exposed in his class.
"Perhaps they will never draw or paint a picture, but after they leave COD they will enjoy strolling through a museum and note the style and techniques they first learned about in Humanities," he said. "Or perhaps after reading several plays, they will be inspired to attend plays and ask the same questions of the play that we asked of Sophocles and Ibsen.
"I have had so many good teachers throughout my life who have inspired me, and their examples continue to inspire me in the classroom. I want to make my classes as interesting as my teachers did for me. Ideally, I would hope than every student looks forward to attending my classes. But at the minimum, I hope they all find my classes well-organized and informative without putting them to sleep."
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